Le Souffle au Coeur (Murmur of the Heart)

French Film Stories

Murmur-of-the-Heart-images-c1a79e56-5a1e-4ede-9b5f-8480953696b Mother Love: Laurent (Benoît Ferreux) comforted by his mother, Clara (Lea Massari)

If you’re a teenage boy in a post-war bourgeois family, struggling with a cold father, a Catholic education and two mischievous older brothers, there are three pleasures in life: a mother’s love, Jazz music, and the slow, self-conscious introduction to girls.

Le Souffle au Coeur is a semi-autobiographical comedy in which Louis Malle directs the wiry Laurent (Benoît Ferreux) as a young teenager who’s cheeky and dissatisfied with his place in the family. Laurent has enormous energy with a sulk to match. We see him running to school, late for altar-service at chapel and bounding up the stairs at home like a lolloping puppy.

The adults in Laurent’s house are comic acts whom he dodges and adores. On the ground floor, his father uses a large room as his gynecological surgery, which Laurent observes from afar with irritation…

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